Can Naomi Osaka win a third consecutive Grand Slam title?

Published by Leigh Rogers

CHASING HISTORY: Naomi Osaka is aiming to become the first woman to win their first three Grand Slam singles titles in succession at this year's Roland Garros; Getty Images
Naomi Osaka has a chance to create more records at this year’s Roland Garros, where she is chasing a third consecutive Grand Slam title.

Naomi Osaka knows how to create history.

At last year’s US Open she became the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam singles title.

She won a second Grand Slam title at the Australian Open earlier this year to rise to world No.1, a first for an Asian woman.

The 21-year-old Osaka has more history to play for at Roland Garros, where she could become the first woman in the Open era to win their first three Grand Slam titles in succession.

American Jennifer Capriati was the most recent to attempt the record, falling two wins short in a Wimbledon semifinal run in 2001.

Women to win their first two Grand Slam titles in succession during the Open era:

Player Year Result in third
Grand Slam
Evonne Goolagong Cawley 1971 Did not compete, US Open 1971
Chris Evert 1974 Semifinal, US Open 1974
Venus Williams 2000 Semifinal, Australian Open 2001
Jennifer Capriati 2001 Semifinal, Wimbledon 2001
Naomi Osaka 2019 ?, Roland Garros 2019

Winning three Grand Slam titles in a row is no easy ask – only five women have managed to do so in the past 35 years, with Serena Williams the only player to achieve the feat in the past 20 years.

Women to win three or more consecutive Grand Slam titles in the past 35 years:

Player Titles won Events
Martina Navratilova 3 Roland Garros 1984 – US Open 1984
Steffi Graf 5 Australian Open 1988 – Australian Open 1989
Steffi Graf 3 Wimbledon 1989 – Australian Open 1990
Monica Seles 3 US Open 1991 – Roland Garros 1992
Steffi Graf 4 Roland Garros 1993 – Australian Open 1994
Steffi Graf 3 Roland Garros 1995 – US Open 1995
Steffi Graf 3 Roland Garros 1996 – US Open 1996
Martina Hingis 3 Wimbledon 1997 – Australian Open 1998
Serena Williams 4 Roland Garros 2002 – Australian Open 2003
Serena Williams 4 US Open 2014 – Wimbledon 2015

Osaka is among elite company to win the US Open-Australian Open double. Yet history shows that adding a Roland Garros title is difficult to achieve.

Only two women have transferred their hard-court dominance to the Parisian dirt in the past 35 years – Monica Seles in 1992 and Serena Williams in 2015.

QUIZ: How well do you know Naomi Osaka?

Both were two-time Roland Garros champions at that stage of their careers, a much different situation to Osaka, who is making her fourth appearance in Paris and is yet to advance beyond the third round.

Roland Garros results of women to win the US Open-Australian Open double in the past 35 years: 

Player Year Roland Garros result
Steffi Graf 1989 Final
Steffi Graf 1990 Final
Monica Seles 1992 Won
Monica Seles 1993 Did not compete
Steffi Graf 1994 Semifinal
Martina Hingis 1998 Semifinal
Serena Williams 2003 Semifinal
Justine Henin 2004 Second round
Serena Williams 2009 Quarterfinal
Kim Clijsters 2011 Second round
Serena Williams 2015 Won
Naomi Osaka 2019 ?

Adding to the pressure, Osaka also enters this year’s Roland Garros as the No.1 seed at a Grand Slam for the first time.

It has been more than 16 years since a woman won a Grand Slam in their first appearance as a No.1 seed, stretching back to Serena Williams’ US Open victory in 2002.

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Although history suggests the odds are against Osaka creating more history in Paris, she has already proven in her young career that she thrives on the Grand Slam stage.

“I feel like everyone knows that Grand Slams to me are like a playground. I have fun a lot there,” Osaka says.

Arguably, Osaka’s biggest challenge is believing in her own chances to win on clay, which she admits is not her “greatest surface”.

“I don’t really want to put too much pressure on myself like that because I feel like in the end I play my best when I’m enjoying myself,” she says.

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